United States President Joe Biden’s first overseas trip beginning next week will include a meeting with Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and an audience with Queen Elizabeth, the White House announced on Thursday.
Beginning June 10, Biden plans to travel to Europe where he will participate in summits of the G7, NATO and the European Union.
Biden will conclude his first foray abroad with a previously announced face-to-face meeting with Russia President Vladimir Putin in Geneva on June 16.
Biden will meet Erdogan on the sidelines of the upcoming NATO summit in Brussels on June 14, the White House said. NATO leaders are scheduled to discuss future threats and burden sharing, as well as the planned withdrawal of US and NATO forces from Afghanistan.
Biden and Erdogan are expected to “discuss the full range of bilateral and regional issues”, according to the White House.
“This trip will highlight America’s commitment to restoring our alliances, revitalizing the Transatlantic relationship, and working in close cooperation with our allies and multilateral partners to address global challenges and better secure America’s interests,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement.
The trip in many ways will be an effort to renew US global leadership, following the former President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the world stage, and a smoothing of ties with European allies whom Trump had alienated.
Biden’s meeting with Putin has been framed by the White House as aimed at “building a stable and predictable” relationship with Russia. Biden began his presidency by renewing a key strategic nuclear arms treaty with Russia and in an April 13 phone call with Putin warned Russia against cyberattacks and election interference.
White House officials have been particularly concerned by Russia’s build-up of combat troops along its borders with Ukraine. Biden has said he will press Putin on human rights issues following the attempted poisoning and imprisonment of Russia opposition figure Alexey Navalny.
Biden’s official recognition in April of the Armenian genocide caused an exchange of harsh rhetoric with Erdogan, but the US and Turkey – which is a NATO member – face a range of overriding security challenges in Eastern Europe and the Middle East.
Turkey has said it wants better relations with Washington under the new Biden administration and seeks an end to US support for the Kurdish-led People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria.
While in Brussels, Biden will attend the US-EU summit on June 15 in which leaders will seek to “ensure global health security, stimulate global economic recovery, tackle climate change, enhance digital and trade cooperations, strengthen democracy and address mutual foreign policy concerns”, the White House said.
While in Brussels, Biden is scheduled to meet Belgium King Philippe and Prime Minister Alexander De Croo.
Biden, together with First Lady Jill Biden, will meet the recently widowed Queen Elizabeth II to pay their respects at Windsor Castle, the royal residence outside London, on June 13. Biden will meet with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on June 10 before the G7 summit in Cornwall, United Kingdom on June 11-13.
The meeting with the queen will the summit where Biden will push for continued cooperation in combating the coronavirus pandemic, boosting global economic recovery and turning the G7’s multilateral agenda to address climate change.
Russia was excluded from the G7 after it annexed Crimea and infiltrated Eastern Ukraine with Russian troops in 2014 prompting the US and EU to impose economic sanctions on Moscow.